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Rafael Chirbes

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To purchase Mimoun

Title: Mimoun
Author: Rafael Chirbes
Genre: Novel
Written: 1988
Length: 111 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: Mimoun - US
Mimoun - US (Spanish)
Mimoun - UK
Mimoun - France
Mimoun - Deutschland
Mimoun - Italia
Mimoun - España
  • Spanish title: Mimoun
  • Translated by Gerald Martin

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Our Assessment:

B : fairly well-written though somewhat aimless novel of Spanish teacher in Morocco.

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The NY Times Book Rev. . 19/9/1993 William Ferguson
Publishers Weekly . 2/8/1993 .

  From the Reviews:
  • "Mr. Chirbes's spare, impressionistic prose leads us through Manuel's desultory love affairs, his friends' dismal suicides, his exquisite sadness. The expatriate Europeans in this novel are at least as hard to fathom as Morocco itself, which in their troubled eyes is at once a mortal threat and a desolate refuge." - The New York Times Book Review

  • "Manuel is ruthless in his self-evaluation, never maudlin or self-pitying. Instead, his tone is shot through with an eerie calm that many readers will find disturbing. Not to all tastes, but an impressive debut." - Publishers Weekly

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Manuel is a young teacher from Spain who goes to Morocco, seeking a teaching job, hoping to finish his novel, and generally searching for himself. He finds a post at the University of Fez. The teaching load is undemanding and the students unambitious, making the job unfulfilling. Manuel decides also to escape Fez itself and moves to the small town of Mimoun, commuting to the big city the few days a week he has to teach.
       Manuel inevitably moves in a circle of other expats, Spaniards and Frenchman, some of whom have also come to teach. Manuel, however, in part tries to distance himself from them, and he also makes Moroccan friends.
       Little comes of his literary aspirations. He spends a great deal of time in the local bars. He visits bordellos, and he becomes intimate with men as well.
       Chirbes' thin novella, languorous and indecisive, shows an interesting side of Morocco. There is more talk of rain and snow than the beach. There are few distracting tourists. There is a police presence. Manuel is always aware (and constantly reminded) of his outsider role, one to which he cannot adapt. A peculiar sliver of small-town Moroccan life is well-conveyed.
       A decent small book to which there is not quite enough.

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Mimoun: Reviews: Other books by Rafael Chirbes under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Spanish author Rafael Chirbes lived 1949 to 2015.

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